High-Speed Rail R.I.P.?

Between the Obama Administration's patchwork approach to funding and outright Republican opposition, high speed rail appears to be dead.

Writing at Slate, Will Oremus considers the trajectory of America's recent push to high-speed rail, and observes that it never really had a chance.

"Spread across 10 corridors, each between 100 and 600 miles long, Obama's rail system would have been, at best, a disjointed patchwork. The nation's most gridlocked corridor, along the East Coast between Washington, D.C. and Boston, was left out of the plans entirely. Worse, much of the money was allocated to projects that weren't high-speed rail at all.

If there's a silver lining to high-speed rail's spectacular failure, it's that these trains were outdated years ago. Even if all went according to the Obama administration's plans, the nation's rail network would have remained meager and backward by comparison to those in Japan and China. Those countries are already building trains that run via magnetic levitation. At this point in their development, maglev tracks are dauntingly expensive to build. But those costs might well come down by the time America is ready to get serious about its transportation infrastructure. At this rate, there seems to be plenty of time."

Full Story: Requiem for a Train

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Irvin Dawid's picture
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Irvin Dawid's picture
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Mag-lev?

this is a good topic - what went wrong with Obama's HSR plans?
But the author is way off with the mag-lev 'silver lining'. There are lessons to be learned as three states with new Repub. govs' rejected their predecessors plans, thus returning billions of $ to the Transp. Dept, and now CA in a tenuous position where it is easy to see the same thing happen, but for different, political reasons.
One silver lining is that the NE Corridor, with Amtrak at the helm, reaps the governmental largesse should CA reject its $3+B
Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA

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